Making unpopular statements seems to be my default mode at the moment and this piece will gain me very few friends and possibly start a mass unfollowing on twitter.
Santos has come under fire recently for his sub-par performances and whilst I don’t think he is good enough to be our top left-back I do think he is worthy of a squad place.
A long-winded exchange on twitter with someone who accused me of knowing nothing about football because I dare to think Santos is an “okay” footballer and a few news stories got me thinking about our left-back spot.
I threw a question out on twitter about a potential signing and I must admit that I was very surprised with the majority response.
Before I utter the name that will have 95% of you rushing to the hospital with wounds of the mortally offended kind I just want to draw to your attention the extremely popular saying “no player is bigger than the club”.
I don’t know about you but I interpret it as “the club is of the utmost importance so we should do what is best for the club”. Some interpret it as “get rid of the greedy bastard” but I think that’s wrong. If keeping a player is best for the club, regardless of the situation I think we should keep them. If signing one is best then we should try to sign that player.
I know some of you agree with that as I saw many comments and tweets about Hazard saying something like “he might be a mercenary but he is class and we need him”. I have also seen many supporters call for massive pay to keep certain players and then blamed the club when that player eventually left.
With all that in mind I want to explore the re-signing of Ashley Cole.
Have you recovered from your initial shock? Care to read on? I hope so.
Cashley as he is affectionately called by the Arsenal faithful is nearing the end of his deal at Chelsea and is rumoured to leave on a free next summer. I’d take him back and so it seems would most of the people who answered my question about him on twitter.
Let us set aside the traitor issues, the almost crashing of cars, the secret meetings with Kenyon and Mourinho and the snipes he has made at the club and focus purely on the player. You’d want a player as good as that in your team.
Cole is a fantastic footballer make no bones about it and we can hate the man as much as we want but we cannot deny his talent. If there was a carbon copy of him with a different name somewhere we’d all want Arsène to buy him.
Ashley would provide real competition for Gibbs and would be a priceless footballing mentor so surely bringing him back if the chance was there makes sense?
I also think that Ashley, with the blessing of the fans, would be open to a return from Arsenal. Sure, he was a greedy bastard and gave Wenger no choice but to sell him and has been extremely disrespectful to the fans of the club but I don’t think he has ever stopped being a fan.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
Do you ever stop loving your boyhood team? I don’t think you do.
Did the people who were forced out of the Ashburton Grove site stop supporting Arsenal? I don’t think they did.
I think Ashley’s issue with Arsenal is not the club or the management but the fans and can we blame him after the way we’ve treated him? Similarly, can we blame the fans for hating him for leaving? The answer to both is no. There is mutual animosity.
In fact I believe that Ashley is still well liked by the Arsenal management and training ground staff.
Many dont know Ashley Cole still holds regard for Arsenal, been to leaving parties for Arsenal employees and funerals of arsenal employees
— Darren(@DarrenArsenal1) April 25, 2012
He also seems to prefer Arsenal players over all of the Chelsea stars he’s played with as this video shows and I think that Sturridge is in there because he was wary that there were no Chelsea players.
I could regale you with stats but we don’t need stats to prove how good Ashley is and I think one of the biggest causes of the hatred for him was the knowledge that we were losing the best left-back in the world to a rival.
Cole could well come back to Arsenal and we’d be a better team for it but the only barrier that would be difficult to overcome would be the fans feelings towards him.
We could rationally forgive him for his defection and money-grabbing because many of us have said that we cannot blame a player for wanting to earn more as we’d do the same ourselves. However I think it will be almost impossible for many to forgive his slights on Arsenal and the fans.
To those that could not forgive him for slagging Arsenal and the fans off I would ask to think rationally about break-ups. When a couple break-up do they ever walk around praising their ex? Ashley has said things and we’ve said things. Do we mean them literally? No, they are designed to hurt and that is because the hatred we feel is commensurate with the love we felt and if we’re honest with ourselves we really loved Ashley and his actions felt like total betrayal and that is why we now hate him and the exact same reason we all hate the Dutch bloke at United.
I’m not sure I can look past my hatred for Ashley as a person because every time I see his face I get a surge of uncontrollable anger but I would take him back at Arsenal if the opportunity arose and so would some of you.
I leave you with a few words by John Greenleaf Whittier
ForgivenessMy heart was heavy, for its trust had been
Abused, its kindness answered with foul wrong;
So, turning gloomily from my fellow-men,
One summer Sabbath day I strolled among
The green mounds of the village burial-place;
Where, pondering how all human love and hate
Find one sad level; and how, soon or late,
Wronged and wrongdoer, each with meekened face,
And cold hands folded over a still heart,
Pass the green threshold of our common grave,
Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart,
Awed for myself, and pitying my race,
Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave,
Swept all my pride away, and trembling I forgave!
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